I think that Metroid Prime probably should have won for 2002, but it's hard to say. Vice City was one of the first games to show how music and atmosphere can make up for serious flaws in the gameplay, and it is still to this day my favorite game in the series. At the same time, Metroid Prime had the best graphics ever seen at the time, revolutionary gameplay, and an incredible atmosphere. If I'm not mistaken, it also founded the "in the helmet" viewpoint that has become so popular.
The more I think about it, the more I can see why Vice City was chosen, but what makes me feel that MP is more deserving is the fact that it was completely revolutionary in that it took a genre we thought could only be done as a side-scroller and brought it to the third dimension perfectly, whereas Vice City was only an improvement to the formula created by GTA III.
I think that Warcraft 3 should've won for 2003. We all know that RE4 or WoW will be for 2004
i agree with system shock 2 being the best of 1999, its a masterpiece. silent hill 2 is pretty fucking awesome too :)
I would have sworn I already wrote this, but apparently I just put my list together. Anyway, better late than never.
For those late to the party: I'm naming the best game to come out every year since I was born. (Those keeping score, that was 1984...hey, that rhyme!) You can read all previous sections hither, yonder and thither.